A Caveman’s Theory

Thousands of years ago, the first gods were conceived.  The earliest known civilizations had their gods, often connected to the natural environment, the elements, and celestial bodies.  These gods were probably theorized by cavemen – sorry, cave people –  to explain the sun, moon, stars, tides, etc.  They had no concept of the world around them, let alone what lay beyond it.

All these gods were later consolidated into one god.  Monotheism was very convenient and useful for kings or emperors who wanted to consolidate and manage power.  Multiple gods gave priests more power as there was more for them to interpret, but a single god enabled a king to claim to be chosen by the one god to rule.  There would be no other gods with dissenting opinions, so there would be no justification or tolerance for people who dissent.

This occurred in Egypt, when the pharaoh Akhenaten proclaimed a single god.  Apparently, this was not popular with the priests, who had enjoyed power and influence.  It has been suggested that they probably also profited from the looting of tombs after the nobles were buried.  After his death, traditional polytheism was re-established.

Later, the Jewish mythology surrounding Moses and the exodus from Egypt came along.  This was followed by Christianity, which infiltrated the Roman empire all the way up to the emperor.  The Romans spread it across Europe and the idea survived the empire.  The monarchs of the kingdoms that emerged in the wake of the collapsed empire sought papal sanction.  If they couldn’t get it, some would replace the pope with one who saw things their way.  Later, they would break from the papacy and claim their own divine right to rule.

Challenge to papal authority was also integral to the enlightenment.  Ideas that contradicted church concepts of the universe emerged.  The church was not pleased and persecuted those with ‘heretic’ notions.  It, and kings who claimed divine right, enjoyed their power, influence, and accompanying wealth, just as the priesthood of ancient Egypt had.

Free thought endured and survived, leading to modern scientific method and theories.  Many of those who cling to gods and religions refuse to accept new ideas that fly in the face of their beliefs, no matter how cohesive the models or how much evidence is accrued.  But, honestly, who is smarter – a modern scientist or a cave person?

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3 Responses to “A Caveman’s Theory”

  1. Strataman Says:

    the caveperson! “But from the Tree of Knowledge of good and evil, do not eat, for on the day you eat from it, you will definitely die.'” which means in modern laymans terms if you eat (study, think) you will soon discover that your a smart monkey with no purpose; that is going to die! 🙂

    PS- strataman refers to my hobby (not real estate)…?

  2. C. Fraser Says:

    The main problems with most religions is the inflexible dogma. Unfortunately science, although it may claim otherwise, is wracked by this same inflexibility amongst it’s priests–mainly university professors (I know from experience). Both science and religion have evolved over time– evolution is a natural state–and will continue to do so.

    You asked: “…who is smarter- a modern scientist or a cave person?’ I’d say both are equally smart. Sure, a caveman may not be able to perform heart surgery, but I’d like to see your average heart surgeon survive under the conditions that cavemen did 20,000 years ago. Each is a product of their environment.

  3. paulmct Says:

    Strataman:

    Hobby? Playing guitar? Playing violin? Cloudwatching?

    You mentioned a $60K job you were having trouble filling. What’s involved?

    CF:

    True, they both were/are smart for their times and environments and had cognitive abilities. But, since the modern scientist has the benefit of more accumulated knowledge to begin with, his theories are much more likely to be accurate. He is also more inclined and able to put them to the test.

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